Junior fossil hunters discover extinct giant penguin

Back in 2006, children from the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club went on a fossil-hunting field trip and stumbled across the bones of a giant fossil penguin. Little did they know that those bones belonged to an entirely new species. Extinct giant penguin fossil was a new species The fossilised penguin had to be cut out … Continue reading Junior fossil hunters discover extinct giant penguin

How young do baby birds recognise family?

When do baby birds learn to sing? According to new research, the birds begin to take notes while still shell-bound. A group of researchers based at Flinders University have found that even inside the egg, the heartbeats of baby birds change when their parents’ calls are played to them. “This research will hopefully inspire more … Continue reading How young do baby birds recognise family?

NatureWrap: Gentoos may be four not one

Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) should be reclassified as four species, according to British scientists who analysed populations in different areas in the Southern Hemisphere. The two existing subspecies, P. p. ellsworthi and P. p. papua, should be raised to species level and two new species created, they suggest in a paper in the journal Ecology … Continue reading NatureWrap: Gentoos may be four not one

What drones can tell us about penguins

How do you keep a close and regular eye on 300,000 nesting pairs of Adélie penguins spread over two square kilometres of ice? Send in the drones, of course. But not without a plan. It helps to have an algorithm that can partition the space, assign destination points to each drone and figure out how … Continue reading What drones can tell us about penguins

Penguins were here, but a while back

While searching Antarctica’s rocky Cape Irizar, US biologist Steven Emslie stumbled upon ancient remains of penguins, along with some that looked quite fresh. There were decaying carcasses – mostly of chicks – complete with feathers, as well as guano stains, implying recent use of the site. Old pebble mounds identified them as Adélie penguins, which … Continue reading Penguins were here, but a while back

Why penguins are where they are

Penguins first appeared about 22 million years ago, not in Antarctica, as many scientists have thought, but in the cool coastal regions of Australia and New Zealand, according to new research. An international team of scientists gathered blood and tissue samples from 22 penguins representing 18 species, then sequenced and analysed their whole genomes to … Continue reading Why penguins are where they are

Penguins find an upside to less sea ice

Global warming is undeniably bad for the world’s wildlife, but it may bring a surprising short-term advantage for Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) in continental East Antarctica. Scientists have discovered they were able to cover more ground in less time by swimming rather than walking as they searched for prey during an unusually ice-free breeding season … Continue reading Penguins find an upside to less sea ice